This year, the Tokyo Marathon welcomed more than 35,000 runners from around the world.
Were you one of the lucky ones?
The Tokyo Marathon is rarely one's "first" marathon. For many, it is an "A-race" marathon for the books while for others, the Tokyo Marathon checks off another (or their final!) marathon major. With a roughly ten percent chance to be chosen in the random drawing, the Tokyo Marathon lottery is truly a test of luck.
2018 Tokyo Marathon Applicants
This year, applying as a charity runner with the Run with Heart program offered what was perhaps the most "sure-fire" shot of securing a bib for the 2018 Tokyo Marathon. With 3,900 entries available on a first-come, first-serve basis, the charity bib route is a good way to increase your chances of running the Tokyo Marathon (and any of the world marathon majors).
On top of the registration fee, you'll need to donate ¥100,000 or more to one or more of the 15 recipient programs of the Tokyo Marathon Charity Program, which include Teach for Japan, the Special Olympics, the Ronald McDonald House, and the UNHCR. In 2017, the Run with Heart application opened in July and reached full capacity in eight days.
Hong Kong 805
Great Britain 397
* More than 90 countries represented
2019 Tokyo Marathon
From 2019 onward, the Tokyo Marathon will be held on the first Sunday of March.
In previous years, the Tokyo Marathon was held on the last Sunday of February
Estimated Time for Completion
70 deputy leaders
Start Line 1,650
* all numbers cited are estimates
Source: http://www.marathon.tokyo/en/news/detail/news_000603.html and http://www.marathon.tokyo/en/news/detail/news_000699.html
We're In Tokyo...What Now?
For three days, Tokyo Big Sight hosted the Tokyo Marathon Expo. We sat down with some folks to talk about the upcoming race, their past marathon experiences, and their thoughts on Japan. A huge thank you to those who endured Faith's questions and inane chitter chat.
Having flown in from Brazil to Japan via Atlanta, Nancy was celebrating her tenth marathon alongside her supportive husband, Edward. It was Nancy's first time to ballot for the Tokyo Marathon - and she was selected.
Favorite Marathon: Chicago Marathon
Next Marathon: London Marathon, to finish my final world major!
Thoughts on Japan: The language barrier is challenging but Tokyo is just as crowded in Brazil so it doesn't feel vastly different from home! I run my marathons abroad and have a lot of experience racing overseas but everything is so organized in Tokyo that it makes traveling very easy. That said, the start and finish of the Tokyo Marathon are different so we are a bit worried about finding each other after the race and getting back to our hotel.
Travel Plans: I plan to stay in Tokyo for five days after the marathon. We don't have any concrete plans except to explore various neighborhoods and enjoy our first time in Japan !
Ruta and Linas
With son Linas in tow, Ruta has traveled around the world to support her husband Arturas towards completion of the marathon majors. As the wife of a 2018 Tokyo Marathon runner, Ruta is in charge of feeding a lean, mean, running machine. She counts Arturas' calories, loads him with carbs, and cheers on race-day. Now at their sixth and final stop, they are no strangers to large-scale marathons.
Thoughts on Japan: The language is a significant barrier and we feel that has prevented us from having more casual chats and informal conversations with people around us. Surprisingly, we haven't been lost yet because all the necessary signs have been in English. Japan is a unique mix of the contemporary and traditional - we like how shiny everything seems and we love the trains! We have been in awe of how timely things operate in Japan and it helps us figure out exactly how long it will take to get from one place to another.
Favorite Marathon: We absolutely loved Chicago and New York; both cities were fantastic environments for their signature marathon.
Travel Plans: All the sightseeing was planned and done before the marathon since Arturas will be tired after Sunday's run. We spent about a week together in Kyoto and Hakone before coming to Tokyo; we'll leave back for the UK on Monday.
Backed by his wife Ruta and son Linas, Arturas is completing his final world marathon major at Tokyo - and will be the first Lithuanian to do so!
Based in the UK, the family has supported Arturas' running problem ever since he ran his first major in London a few years ago, followed by Berlin and qualifying for Chicago, New York, and Boston. As a charity runner on his last major, Arturas hopes to cross the finish line in just under three hours.
UPDATE: Arturas not only obtained his six-star medal, he finished his last marathon major and 13th marathon in a PB 2:58:53. Congratulations!
Favorite Marathon: The Chicago Marathon because it was my best time, but the New York Marathon is a close second.
Next Marathon: I'd like to go back to Chicago or New York but London is much closer.
Thoughts on Japan: I am looking forward to a relatively cold race in Tokyo this year unlike Boston last year, which was terrible because it was so hot!
Travel Plans: We prefer to travel before races so we've already visited Kyoto and Hakone. Japan has been completely different from anything we've experienced, especially on the marathon major circuit.
Craig and Wei Ming
Coming all the way from Dubai, Scots Craig and Wei Ming are in the hunt to complete their fifth and fourth world major respectively. While Craig is here to have fun and cross the finish line, Wei Ming had some goals in mind - we wish them well as they work towards achieving all six world marathon majors!
Favorite Marathon: The Chicago Marathon - you can't beat that environment, it was electric!
Next Marathon: We're not sure yet but we know we want to finish the world majors!
Thoughts on Japan: It's crazy! I feel like someone is always shouting at you, it's very energetic.
Travel Plans: We just arrived last night (on Thursday) so we plan to stay in Tokyo for a couple of days after the marathon. We have some Japanese friends that will take us around as local guides and we're looking forward to seeing all of Tokyo!